Colors (Dennis Hopper – 1988) B+

Good cop movie even though it’s take on the experienced cop/rookie cop is not particularly new. On the other hand it does a pretty good job of potraying the lives of rival gang members without simply drawing them as the “bad” guys.

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The Long Good Friday (John Mackenzie – 1980) A

From the opening scenes that seem confusing, disjointed and go on for about 10 minutes with no dialogue at all this movie caught my attention. Then comes the kick ass cool music. think 70s Disco crossed with 80s porn music. It really was the heart and soul of this quintessential Brit mob film, the likes of which Guy Ritchie would love to make but probably cannot. Now, we come to Bob Hoskins’ terrific performance as the no-nonesense, smart mob boss out to figure out who’s murdering his people on this long day (the film starts on Good Friday and ends the next day). In the closing shot that is worth seeing again and again Hoskins delivers one of the best facial expressions ever, in a long close up with no words being said he says so much. Also, look out for an early Pierce Brosnan role.

Pan’s Labyrinth (Guillermo del Toro – 2006) A

Captain Vidal here has to be one of the most evil and entriguing characters. He is so real and played with such conviction that it gives me chills just thinking of him sowing his ripped cheek! The rest of this fairytale is very well made too and the images and scenes just blend with such ease and beauty.

Jarhead (Sam Mendes – 2005) A

It reminded me very much of Buffalo Soldiers only the guys in this war are not having as much fun, making as much money or even killing anyone. Jake Gyllenhaal does a great job playing the young soldier who is both bored and way in over his head in Desert Storm. Jamie Foxx’s is also fantastic here. The real attraction here is some of the most amazing Desert Storm imagery I’ve seen (the shimmering desert, the burning oil fields) all set to a very good musical score. This is certainly not a war movie, not much killing or fighting is going on, but it is a movie about a group of young guys in a dessert waiting for their piece of the action.

Everything is Illuminated (Liev Schreiber – 2004) B+

A quirky film that had me smiling through the first hour before it took a turn into a field of sunflowers. That beautiful scene is where this light quirky comedy (the potato routine was one of the best) turned into a somber somewhat sad drama.